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New Android Malware May Have Infected Millions Of Devices

February 3, 2015 - Written By Jeremiah Nelson

Android malware is often blown out of proportion, but it does exist and it can be a problem. Security researchers from Avast Antivirus have found a new adware app that will take over your phone and display full-screen ads even when the app is not running. Some of the apps waited a full 30 days before starting to act crazy, but after that they would bog down your phone and present you with all kinds of ads. Some of the ads claimed that your phone was infected with viruses or full of harmful porn. Avast researcher Filip Chytry breaks it down like this:

“When you install Durak, it seems to be a completely normal and well-working gaming app. This was the same for the other apps, which included an IQ test and a history app. This impression remains until you reboot your device and wait for a couple of days. After a week, you might start to feel there is something wrong with your device. Some of the apps wait up to 30 days until they show their true colors. After 30 days, I guess not many people would know which app is causing abnormal behavior on their phone, right? Each time you unlock your device an ad is presented to you, warning you about a problem, e.g. that your device is infected, out of date or full of porn. This, of course, is a complete lie. You are then asked to take action, however, if you approve you get re-directed to harmful threats on fake pages, like dubious app stores and apps that attempt to send premium SMS behind your back or to apps that simply collect too much of your data for comfort while offering you no additional value.”

Google usually pulls apps that are full of malware or that load up these bogus ads on your phone, but these apps are still available in the Play Store. We’re sure that Google will take a close look at these and remove them unless they stop loading up ads like these. This is not the most malicious use of apps that we’ve seen from the Android apps, but it is troubling that millions of people have downloaded these apps. Google’s open philosophy when it comes to their app store can be a risk as well as a great thing. Even restricting your downloads to only apps that come from the Play Store is not a sure fire way to avoid malware.

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